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JOE GALL

Full Name: Joe Gall
Codename: The Nullifier
Nationality: American
Organization: CIA
Occupation: Agent

Creator:Philip Atlee
Actual Time Span: 1963-1976
ABOUT THE SERIES

       Joe Gall is an assassin for the CIA.
       Born of wealthy parents, he first saw action as a Marine Corps officer during World War II. It was while fighting in Iwo Shima that he 'caught a daisy clipper' (hit by machine gun fire) in his right ankle, resulting in months of recuperation. Even after his recovery, nasty scars would remain and the weakened ankle would produce a slight limp and occasional trouble in later adventures.
       After the war, his parents sent him to college and then to law school. It was during this academic period of inaction, and apparent boredom, that he is approached by a man named Howard Shale to work as an agent of the CIA.
       Gall worked for the Agency as a standard counter-intelligence operative for over a decade until he was forced out for arguing against the Bay of Pigs operation. Joe's words of warning fell on ears of those not only deaf to nay-saying but also vengeful against any detractors. When the operation actually failed miserably, those same people had no use for an 'I-told-you-so' so Joe Gall was forced out and not even his mentor, Shale, could help. Shale died in a plane crash in Vietnam shortly thereafter, and Joe Gall retired to the hills of the Ozarks with considerable bitterness towards the Agency.
       Joe would be brought out of retirement by Shale's successor, Carl Wiley and it from this point on, where the novels commence, he works as a contract agent only.
       When not on assignment, Joe retires to his home near 'Herald Springs, Arkansas'. His estate consists of five acres of land on a crest of a hill; his house was a 'huge clapboard castle with stained-glass windows and gingerbread turrets'. Behind his house was a Japanese garden complete with bonsai trees and an ice-cold natural pool fed by a large waterfall. Crossing the pool was a foot bridge and path leading up to and behind the waterfall to a deep cavern in which he had built a sauna. There is little doubt from his narratives that the house is his refuge.
       In the recounting of the Bay of Pigs fiasco, Philip Atlee (nee James Atlee Philips) has his character angry over the Cuban disaster and uses it as the focal point for the changing of Gall's life and the creation of the 'Nullifier' vocation. He also spends considerable amounts of time commenting on the lack of intelligence in the Intelligence field.
       This is of considerable note since the author's brother, David Atlee Philips, would take a major role in the planning of the real Bay of Pigs invasion while working for the CIA. David Philips helped collect the actual Cuban exiles who would eventually die or be captured and he set up numerous radio stations to spread false stories and heighten tension in Cuba prior to the landing, much as had been done successfully in 1954 against Guatemala.
       David Philips was also the author of the plan to take American planes, paint them in Cuban colors, and give them to Cuban pilots who would strafe the Cuban airfields and then land in Florida claiming to be refugees from the Cuban Air Force. This story, a total fabrication, was repeated by Adlai Stevenson on the floor of the United Nations and led to considerable embarrassment for Stevenson and the Kennedy administration.
       It is curious that David Philips' brother, James, would use the debacle as a major event in his creation's life when the book would be published less than two years later.

Note: The Korean adventures of Joe Gall written about in the prequel, Pagoda, was used as the basis for the similarly named episode of CBS's Studio One In Hollywood in 1952, starring John Forsythe as the lead.

BOOKS

Number of Books:23
First Appearance:1963
Last Appearance:1976

0 Pagoda Pagoda      written by James Atlee Phillips     copyright 1951
Down on his luck in Rangoon, Joe Gall agrees to work with Varley for a chance at millions in the jungles of that war-torn area. Fists and guns were expected but when Varley turns out to be working for and against both sides, Gall knew it was every man for himself. This is a precursor to the actual spy series, written more than a decade before.

1 The Green Wound Contract The Green Wound Contract      written by Philip Atlee     copyright 1963
It is in this first book that Joe is actually brought out of retirement by a visit by Carl Wiley. A baddie named Uncle Tom Asmodeus is causing trouble for the fine people of the Southern city of Lafcadio. Political pressure from Congress causes the CIA to hire Joe to investigate.

2 The Silken Baroness Contract The Silken Baroness Contract      written by Philip Atlee     copyright 1964
Gall is told to guard the Baroness Tamuelius. To do this, as well as figure out who is actually after the fair lady, Joe must take up residence in Santa Cruz de Tenerife in the Canary Islands. Itís rough duty, acting the part of a wealthy, drunken American reprobate but Joe comes through.

3 The Paper Pistol Contract The Paper Pistol Contract      written by Philip Atlee     copyright 1966
Gall's cover is to monitor French atomic testing near Tahiti. His real task is to force a wedge between De Gaulle and his new friends, the Red Chinese by kidnapping and holding for several days one of the leading French scientists.

4 The Death Bird Contract The Death Bird Contract      written by Philip Atlee     copyright 1966
A very wealthy, highly likeable minor diplomat named Lewis Wardlaw is up for nomination as Under Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs. He has one problem: a heroin habit. Gall is told to get close to the millionaire and find out the truth.

5 The Irish Beauty Contract The Irish Beauty Contract      written by Philip Atlee     copyright 1966
It is to New Granada that Gall is sent to report on the actions of a Mike Bonner, an international salesman in arms and explosives. The rebels of New Granada need arms and the government of Cuba seem anxious to provide them. The question arises whether Bonner is the go-between.

6 The Star Ruby Contract The Star Ruby Contract      written by Philip Atlee     copyright 1967
Itís not every spy who can, if operating in Burma to help that government remove a Nationalist Chinese general and his army from their lands, call upon a Gurka regiment from India. Joe Gall can and does as he returns to that Indochina country after many years.

7 The Rockabye Contract The Rockabye Contract      written by Philip Atlee     copyright 1968
She stands 6'2", plays the guitar on stage in the semi-nude, and needs a bodyguard. She is Miss Hester Prim and she is about to leave her Greenwich Village stomping grounds to go on a tour of Europe. Gall is to baby-sit because there is a very evil Caribbean dictator bent on killing her.

8 The Skeleton Coast Contract The Skeleton Coast Contract      written by Philip Atlee     copyright 1968
Someone has stolen seven large bins of uncut diamonds from the shores along South-West Africa and the South African nation and the diamond cartel want them back. Also desiring them is a highly intelligence native named Huru backed by fiercely loyal pygmy bushmen as well as the Red Chinese.

9 The Ill Wind Contract The Ill Wind Contract      written by Philip Atlee     copyright 1969
Things are exploding in Indonesia and Gall is sent in see what he can do. He must contend with a rebel force that seems to hold all the aces and a powerful government that doesnít know which general to trust. And a Swedish beauty that is either the biggest of airheads or a highly intelligent manipulator.

10 The Trembling Earth Contract The Trembling Earth Contract      written by Philip Atlee     copyright 1969
To infiltrate the Republic of New Africa, a black militant group, Gall must go undercover and join the organization which means he must become black! The ending, however, is one of the wildest non-endings you will ever find.

11 The Fer-de-Lance Contract The Fer-de-Lance Contract      written by Philip Atlee     copyright 1970
The group Republic of New Africa has been destroyed but the leader has escaped. Months later, he returns with an outrageous plan that the CIA knows wonít work but would cause so much bad diplomatic strife that it had to be stopped at all cost. Gall must go after one of the few men he has ever feared.

12 The Canadian Bomber Contract The Canadian Bomber Contract      written by Philip Atlee     copyright 1971
The FLQ, the movement fighting for the separation of French-based Quebec from the rest of Canada, isnít moving fast enough according to splinter group, the Union for the Armed Liberation of Quebec. More violent action is needed to force the issue and that means explosives and Niagara Falls.

13 The White Wolverine Contract The White Wolverine Contract      written by Philip Atlee     copyright 1971
The men who were killed lost their lives in various ways but they all had the figurine of a wolverine, carved from the ivory of a walrus, attached to an earlobe by bailing wire.
Gallís assignment was to keep a Vancouver big-wig from becoming the next victim.

14 The Kiwi Contract The Kiwi Contract      written by Philip Atlee     copyright 1972
Mike Donoghue was a rich oil baron working on a top secret assignment for the United States. His task was so secret that a decoy was needed. Gall is told to trade places with the man who also happened to be a swinging jet-setter with a penchant for drink and women. Too bad someone wants him dead.

15 The Judah Lion Contract The Judah Lion Contract      written by Philip Atlee     copyright 1972
Kalinga was the absolute president of the Republic of Marundi, a land-locked East African country until his Number Two wanted a promotion and Kalinga had to flee to survive. The problem was that Kalinga was fairly pro-American while his successor was not. Gall gets bodyguard duty.

16 The Spice Route Contract The Spice Route Contract      written by Philip Atlee     copyright 1973
When a black army officer and deserter from the Vietnam War formed a gang of assassins and eliminated a major Yemeni official, the CIA applauded because that what they had recruited and paid him to do. When he began to apply his trade against those who were pro-American, he had to be stopped.

17 The Shankill Road Contract The Shankill Road Contract      written by Philip Atlee     copyright 1973
Gallís assignment is to stop an assassin who was suspected of 50+ brutal eliminations in the political strife of Northern Ireland and was rumored to be upping the ante by killing a major official in the British government.The assassin is an American. Worse, he is the son of a member of the U.S. Cabinet

18 The Underground Cities Contract The Underground Cities Contract      written by Philip Atlee     copyright 1974
Cihan was the leader of the Turkish Peopleís Liberation Party and prior to his capture by the Turkish government had caused considerable anxiety to the ruling party. Now he was being held in a maximum security prison. Rebels take three Americans hostage and demanded the release of their leader.

19 The Kowloon Contract The Kowloon Contract      written by Philip Atlee     copyright 1974
The Kong Yick Company of Hong Kong made rather innocuous ones toys, nothing that would attract the interest of governments or terrorists. Yet it is put under attack one afternoon when the several pregnant women workers all suffer sudden and violent miscarriages. Gall must find what weapon is being used.

20 The Black Venus Contract The Black Venus Contract      written by Philip Atlee     copyright 1975
The Black Venus was named Julietta, housekeeper at the home Gall occupies during this assignment to Sao Paulo, Brazil. She is also a major conduit to the October Eighth Movement in Brazil, the group that had kidnapped a legend in the CIA and a man important enough that Gall is sent to rescue him.

21 The Last Domino Contract The Last Domino Contract      written by Philip Atlee     copyright 1976
Someone has stolen a lot of plutonium from America and the US wants it back. That is the basic contract given Joe as he is sent to Korea. As his cover, he is sent in to take the role of a missionary (!) with the assistance of Nan-Cho, a fervent believer who is determined to save his soul.

22 The Makassar Strait Contract The Makassar Strait Contract      written by Philip Atlee     copyright 1976
Off the coast of Indonesia, the Japanese are harvesting incredible amount of manganese, a highly prized mineral highly prized in the manufacturing community. The question is how are they getting it and how can the U.S. get a piece of it. The ending is a great way to close a series.

MY COMMENTS

       I most certainly would never have liked Joe Gall, the man. Joe Gall the character, however, is a great fun to read. There is plenty of action. There is plenty of macho tempered with a tendency to get the tar beaten out of him. There is a great deal of love making with beautiful women.
       There is a considerable amount of travelogue. Atlee's ability to describe an area and make you see it is terrific, making you certain that he had been there himself. Since Joe Gall goes to a lot of different places, that means a lot of interesting places.
       There is not a lot of character building. You never know anything beyond skin deep about anyone other than Joe and that is sometimes a shame, especially as those around him seldom live very long. Whether friend or foe, life expectancy is not high.

GRADE

My Grade:   B+

Your Average Grade:   C


YOUR OPINIONS
DavidC4/19/2014

Unfortunately there is also a considerable amount of race baiting and questionable opinions in some of the books from the mid to late sixties. Atlee seemed particularly fond of the black radical uprising plot. If he was making a comment about the kind of men Gall and his boss were he did it too effectively for me in several books that veered far to close to racist for me. I grant I may have misread him, but it didn't feel like it at the time and in one book where Gall poses as a southern cracker he seems to enjoy torturing a black American tourist far more than was needed for his cover.


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